Feds grill MS on Windows security

A step in the right direction

US Defense Department and FBI officials contacted Microsoft on Friday to express their concern over the recently-disclosed security bugs affecting all versions of Windows, the Associated Press reports.

The Feds were particularly concerned that the bug gives up root on Win-XP, ironically touted as the most secure Windows OS ever developed, the wire service says.

Additionally, the Feds sought assurance that the patches MS has issued are adequate to bung the holes without causing problems for the machines they're installed on.

According to MS, the patches are absolutely fabulous and will be installed via the Windows auto-update feature. Users who prefer to download them individually may do so here.

The bugs at issue are actually three flaws in the Windows Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) service. One of them can be exploited to gain System or OS-level access to any Windows machine using the service. Two others can be exploited for denial of service attacks, including the much-feared distributed variety.

We find it a healthy development that the Feds are finally showing MS that their security blunders will not go unnoticed. Whether this will translate into pressure sufficient for the company to get its act together remains to be seen; but if there's any entity which might influence the Redmond Leviathan, Uncle Sam is definitely it.

God knows generations of hackers have tried and failed to inspire the company to take security engineering seriously. ®

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